Sunday, January 13, 2019

Grade 3/Kitah Gimel 2018-2019

1-13-19

Shalom Gimel Families,

Gimel students have done a great job learning the Erev Shabbat Kiddush and completed it on Sunday.  They should continue to practice reading and/or singing it at home for a few minutes each day. In addition to reciting, students also practiced their reading through different Hebrew games and partner reading.  Next we will study Mi Kamocha.

In our holiday block we started talking about Tu Bishvat, the birthday of trees, with a focus on saving trees and the environment.  After listening to the story Gods World by Sylvia Rousses, students illustrated their ideal God’s World.  They are using Google Slides to make a slideshow of their illustrations.  This week students worked in pairs to research the history and celebration of Tu Bishvat.  On Sunday, January 27, we look forward to celebrating Tu Bishvat with the other classes and led by Nitzan.

In the coming weeks we will begin to study Mi Kamocha, continue doing Hebrew Through Movement during the week, complete our Tu Bishvat projects and begin to talk about Purim.

I hope everyone has a great week and fun long weekend.

Shalom

Elana

1-6-19


Shalom Gimel Families,


Welcome back to Hebrew School!  I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing winter break.  I enjoyed time in Cape Town with my family celebrating my dad’s 80th birthday.


Students have been working on the Friday night Kiddush and have learned up to Line 13.  They are working hard to master the prayer. Next Sunday we will work on the rest of it.


On Sunday we started talking about Tu Bishvat, the birthday of trees.  Our focus is mainly on taking care of trees and the environment. Students paired up to discuss 2 proverbs relating to trees and also talked about what it means to repair the world (Tikkun Olam) and do not destroy (Baal Taschchit).  They then listened to the book Gods World by Sylvia Rousses.  The book focuses on the environment and how we are all obliged to take care of it.  During the week students will work on an illustration representing their view of what God's World looks like.


I hope everyone has a great week!


Shalom


Elana

12-16-18


Shalom Gimel Families,


This last Shabbat the theme of our Synaplex was gratitude.  I am grateful for many things in my life and am very grateful for the opportunity to work with your wonderful children this year.  Yesterday during Tefillah with the 4th grade, students had the opportunity to express gratitude for the people and things in their lives through a game of pick up sticks.  They also learned the song “Ve al zeh, ani modeh” meaning “for this I am thankful.


In Hebrew students worked on reciting the first 10 lines of the Friday Night Kiddush.  They also did some buddy reading and Hebrew reading games to practice their reading.


In Torah students are focusing on the theme of courage through the Exodus story of the midwives in Egypt, and through role play, understand that it takes courage to stand up for what is right.


This week students will spend more time working on Friday Night Kiddush, will spend time with Nitzan, and further explore the theme of courage.  


Wishing everyone a great week and restful December break.


Shalom,


Elana

12-9-18 



Shalom Gimel Families,


I hope everyone had a wonderful Hannukah and enjoyed the time with loved ones.


In Hebrew students have worked on reciting the Friday Night Kiddush Lines 1-8.  They are doing a great job mastering this through whole group reading, buddy reading and Hebrew Reading Games.


During the week we enjoyed celebrating Hannukah as a school with candle lighting, singing and Hannukah song videos.  Thank you to the Men’s Club for the delicious latkes our students enjoyed on Sunday!


Electives are a lot of fun and, in addition to sharing some great insights during Hevruta study, Gimel students have enjoyed their time in either sign language, embroidery or storyboarding.  This week will be our 4th and final week of fall electives.


Wishing everyone a great week,


Shalom


Elana

12-2-18



Shalom Gimel Families,


Happy Hannukah!  Enjoy celebrating with your loved ones!


In Hebrew students have completed Ein Keloheinu and started working on the Friday Night Kiddush on Sunday.  They got off to a good start and worked on lines 1-5. Activities included whole group reading, buddy reading and a Kiddush version of Connect 4.  Students also received their December homework calendar.


Electives have been going well and students are enjoying their time in sign language, embroidery and storyboarding.  We can’t wait to see their finished products! During Hevruta study students are sharing wonderful insights with their partners.


In our holiday block students have reviewed the Hannukah story through a Readers Theater and Hannukah story poster, and this week reviewed the blessings for lighting the Hannukah candles.  On Sunday students made their own stained glass menorahs and dreidels.


This week we look forward to the third week of electives and lighting the Hannukiyah in Hebrew School.


Wishing everyone a great week of Hannukah!


Shalom


Elana

11-11-18



Shalom Gimel Families,

We had a fun and busy week in Hebrew School.

In Hebrew Through Movement students did a warm up activity to review the Hebrew words for stand, sit, walk, run, jump, spin, slow, fast and in place.  New words this week included girls (Banot), boys (banim) and everyone (kulam). Students also suggested and had fun with combining verbs (example spin and jump). This week we will add some nouns and prepositions to our activities.

Yesterday students reviewed En Keloheinu and added lines 7 & 8.  Review was done through whole group reading, Buddy reading and a class game of Zip Around.  For morning work students worked on a Roll and Read containing the lines of Ein Keloheinu. This week’s magic number was seven (sheva) and students enjoyed the magic number game, and used the number to review some of the Hebrew Through Movement verbs (example jump to the count of 7).

The next holiday is Hannukah, and after watching a video of the Maccabeats song, Candlelight, students brainstormed and shared ideas about Hannukah.  Journals from last week about favorite Jewish activities were shared and students understand that in America we have the freedom to enjoy these activities, such as going to Jewish summer camp, participating in USY and celebrating holidays.  During the time of the Maccabees the Jews did not have this religious freedom.

Thank you to the Temple Israel Men’s Club for visiting us to talk about Veterans Day.  Students asked many good questions.

This week we are super excited to start our electives!

Wishing everyone a great week.

Shalom,

Elana

11-4-18



Shalom Gimel Families,

Gimel students are making good progress with mastering the Ein Keloheinu prayer. They have now learned the first 6 lines. On Sunday, during stations time, students had opportunities to practice their reading with a buddy and to play Hebrew reading games containing lines from Ein Keloheinu.  At the end of morning meeting students were introduced to the game, Zip Around, to further practice reading the lines of Ein Keloheinu.

Following our trust fall game that we did last week, students used sentence starters to share their feelings with their classmates about the trust falls.  They also read the story of the midwives in Egypt showing courage by saving the Hebrew baby boys from being drowned in the Nile. During the week students will have an opportunity to role play a possible conversation between the 2 midwives, Shifra and Pua, before and after Israelite baby boys were saved.

Hannukah is around the corner and students accessed their backround knowledge about the holiday by listening and watching a video of 2 songs by the Maccabeats, Candlelight and Latke Recipe. They then worked with a partner to brainstorm ideas about Hannukah food and traditions. Students also completed a journal activity about their favorite Jewish activity. Next week they will share their idea with their classmates and we will discuss the concept of religious freedom.

Looking forward to
1. Hebrew Through Movement during the week.
  2. Conversation about the courage of the midwives in Egypt.

3. A Hannukah story readers theater and conversation about religious freedom.
    4. On Sunday, the Temple’s Men’s Club will lead Tefillot in honor of the veterans in our community.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

Shalom,


Elana

10-29-18



Shalom Gimel Families,


Yesterday Gimel students began studying the prayer, Ein Keloheinu.  Students listened to the prayer being sung during the week and then as a whole class learned lines 1 and 2.  During stations students had opportunities to buddy read the lines learned, and played a game of reading memory/concentration containing lines from Ein Keloheinu.  During small reading group time, which was one of the 3 stations, students also learned to read and sing lines 3 & 4. Students received their November homework calendars yesterday as well.


10-21-18



Shalom Gimel Students!


Yasher Koach to the Gimel Class for completing their study of Barachu, Yotzer Or, and Or Hadash.  Students have done a great job mastering these prayers and are ready to move on to Ein Keloheinu next week.  Keep up the good work!


We have started our Hebrew Through Movement curriculum and students are having a blast following commands given to them in Hebrew.  Ask your son/daughter to “lalechet” (walk), “likpotz” (jump) or “larutz” (run). Some of the vocabulary learned during these weekday lessons are also being used in other aspects of the day.  Students are doing a great job internalizing the vocabulary.


Yesterday for our Jewish Values lesson, students listened to the story What Does it Mean To Be Kind, and then wrote compliments to 2 classmates.  The compliment notes were put into the students’ chesed boxes and brought home at the end of the day.  We also began our Torah curriculum Jewish Values in Exodus with activities and conversations about important values a community should have to make it work, and students did an illustration of what their ideal community should look like.  The next Jewish value to be explored is courage (gevurah). We will explore this in the context of community and through a study of the Exodus story of the midwives in Egypt who saved the Israelite babies from being drowned.


Looking forward to…
  1. Beginning our study of Ein Keloheinu.
  2. Students will receive a November homework calendar next Sunday
  3. More compliments!
  4. More Hebrew Through Movement
  5. Welcoming Nitzan back from Israel and doing fun activities with her.


Wishing everyone a great week!


L’hitraot


Elana Berelowitz


10-16-18



Shalom Gimel Families,


The first month of Hebrew School has been fun and exciting!  Students have settled well into the routine of the Gimel Class.  


Hebrew
We are studying both prayer and modern Hebrew.  In prayer Hebrew, students have been working on Barachu, Yotzer Or and Or Hadash.  They have done a great job mastering these in a variety of ways - whole group reading, buddy reading, Hebrew games (Roll and Read seems to be the favorite!), small group reading and practice at home.  Next we will work on Ein Keloheinu.


Modern Hebrew is studied through our Sunday morning meeting, Sunday closing circle, and weekday Hebrew Through Movement curriculum.  Students enjoy both of these, particularly the movement activities. Each week in Hebrew Through Movement we review vocabulary learned with a warm up, 2-3 new terms are introduced and then we do movements that combine both the old and new terms.
In closing circle students share, in Hebrew, their favorite part of the day.


Middot/Jewish Values


Over the past month we have been focusing on the values of Derech Eretz (good manners), chesed (kindness) and Gemilut Hasadim (acts of loving kindness), and this is an ongoing theme in the Gimel Class throughout the year.  Through a variety of activities and conversations we have explored which actions are acts of kindness, how mean words can hurt, and how we can work to focus on the good in others. Students made popsicle stick pouches which are there “chesed boxes.”  Each Sunday students are given the names of 2 classmates and their task is to write a compliment to these 2 classmates. Compliments are put into the chesed boxes to be taken home at the end of the day.


9-26-18


Shalom Gimel Parents,


We had a GREAT opening day! It was a pleasure to see/meet the children. They started their day by looking at the welcome goody bags and reading the poem explaining all the items that were in it.

This year students will be introduced to some modern Hebrew and this is presented through our Sunday morning meeting. Each week different students will have opportunities to take attendance (and answer “ani po”), greet each other in Hebrew, learn different parts of the schedule, days of the week, Hebrew calendar, weather and seasons. They will also practice counting in Hebrew with our magic number game which involves counting around the circle in Hebrew and sitting down if they land on the magic number.

On Sunday students received their Hebrew binders containing some prayer sheets, a homework calendar and a letter explaining the prayer curriculum and homework. Students will start working on the Barachu next Sunday.

We spent some time talking about the Jewish value of Derech Eretz (good manners) in the contexts of the various communities we belong to. Students did a great job sharing some of the rules they follow in these communities. In their table groups they talked about ways in which we take care of ourselves, each other and the world around us to ensure a successful year of learning. These ideas were the basis for our class contract (Brit) which was signed by both students and teachers.

The highlight of the day was making decorations for the Temple Sukkah. Thank you to the Temple Sisterhood for making this possible. Students were very creative and had a blast hanging their projects in the Sukkah.


We are thrilled to welcome Naomi Hoffman who will be working as a madricha in our room on Sundays.

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns at
eberelowitz@gmail.com


Below is a copy of the welcome poem that the students received in their goody bags:








We are super excited for a fun year of learning and growing together.

L’hitraot

Elana

Grade 2/Kitah Bet 2018-2019

1-13-19

We did it! The second graders had a fun pajama/popcorn/stuffed animal morning to celebrate all the great learning that has been happening over the last few weeks.

In Hebrew, we added the letters "Vav" and "Vet" and a new silent vowel. We learned that the new vowel acts like a stop sign in the middle of the word or a break between syllables. It's a little tricky, but we are working hard to incorporate it into our reading.

In honor of MLK Day we read a book called "As Good As Anybody" about the friendship Dr. King and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. The book describes instances of prejudices that each man encountered, Dr. King in segregated south and Rabbi Heschel in Germany and Poland before World War II. We read that Rabbi Heschel joined Dr. King in the fight against injustice in this country. After we discussed the book and the idea of respect, we added speech bubbles to our self portraits on the bulletin board. They read: "I show respect for others when..." and "I show my love for God when..."
Please ask your child how he/she filled in the speech bubble. We are looking forward to celebrating Tu B'Shvat with the school at a seder organized by Nitzan on Sunday, January 27th!

1-6-19

We learned 2½ new letters this week - Chet, Lamed, and the Tav with a dot in the middle, which we pronounce the same as without the dot in the middle. We can now read "Hallah" in Hebrew! We met with Cantor Ken and began learning the words and melody for the "VaAhavtah" prayer. We are also making hand motions to go with the words. Be sure to ask your child where in our class did we find the words for this prayer. We read the book "Abraham's Search for God" and began discussing how Abraham's belief in God was different than those around him I know that we will have many interesting discussions about Abraham. During T'Filah with the kindergarten and 1st graders, we sang songs for the holiday Tu B'Shvat. It is one of my favorite holidays and am looking forward to it.

12-16-18

In Hebrew, we have been learning the letters "Pey" and "Resh". The chapter in our text also includes the "Final Mem" which we had already learned. When we learned how to write the "Resh" we saw that it's actually the base fr writing many other letters such as "Bet", "Pey", "Tav", and "Final Mem".

After "T'filah" (prayer) on Sunday, the Bet class stayed in the sanctuary with the first grade class. We discussed what a Torah is made from (animal skins) and how it is written (by hand). We then took a Torah scroll out of the ark and carefully looked at it.

Ask your child about what we noticed about the writing and the letters. We also looked at a book called a Tikun which Torah readers use to practice before they read in front of a congregation.

12-9-18


Second Grade this week was full of Hanukkah spirit.  Midweek we began with a school-wide candle lighting ceremony.  In Hebrew the students played a reading game "Spin and Read", using a dreidel they needed to read a word beginning with the letter the dreidel landed on.  The students then created beautiful "Stained Glass Art" to go with the theme of  Hanukkah as the Festival of Lights.  On Sunday we were treated to a party hosted by the Men's Club with yummy snacks, singing with Cantor Ken and lots of Dreidel spinning.  The children also had the opportunity to share some of their favorite Hanukkah activities (the word presents was banned from the discussion!).  We heard about lots of family parties, dreidel competitions, and mountains of latkes which were consumed.  I read two of my favorite holiday books, both by Eric Kimmel, Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins and The Golem's Latkes.
I hope that everyone had a fun and joyous holiday!



12-2-18


Shalom Second Grade Families,

It was great to get back into the classroom after Thanksgiving. 

In Hebrew, we began Chapter 6 of our text learning  Koof, and a new vowel "oo" and a vowel combination "ooey".  The class continues to impress me with wonderful their reading.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Rabbi Libben came to say hello and answer any questions that the students wanted to ask him, we had two very different discussions.  On Tuesday the kids were interested in talking about their Hebrew names which led to a discussion about where many of our families came from and immigration.   On Wednesday the discussion was centered more on God and "How do you know.... if you can't see God?" We talked about things existing that you can't see, such as wind and love, and about having faith in something that you believe in even if you can't prove it's existence. 

We've also been learning about Hanukkah.  We reviewed the basic story and discussed the miracles associated with the holiday.  The class agreed that a small group of Jewish farmers turned soldiers going up against a huge army and winning was indeed a miracle. 
Cantor Ken talked about Hanukkah in relation to the Jewish calendar and that it spans two Jewish months and in class as a follow up, we read a story called "Hanukkah Moon" by Deborah da Costa.  We also made decorations for the room using metallic markers on black paper.

On a sadder note, we discussed some of the rituals concerning Jewish mourning.  We focused on the process of sitting Shivah and learned that it has its roots in the Joseph story in the Torah.  We talked about trying to make a friend feel better, by playing, listening or just by being there.  We then made condolence cards for Emily and Jason.  I was very proud of how respectful the children were during this discussion, how they listened to each other's experiences of going to Shiva Houses and seriously they took the task of making the cards.

Homework this week is both simple and fun-to light Hanukkah candles!  Ask your child the difference between a menorah and a hanukkiah.

Wishing you all a Happy Hanukkah,

Margie

11-11-18

The second grade learned נ Nun and י Yud and two new vowels (and ן Final Nun). Which allows us to be able to read Nitzan's name! We read "Finding the Fruits of Peace," - Cain and Abel. A very child friendly retelling of the story, which was new to many of them. The students met with Temple Israel veterans in honor of Veteran's day and got to ask them questions. We are looking forward to continuing with our Torah stories we have begun Noah. Also, learning about your children's homes this coming Sunday. We discussed different strategies which Cain could have used. Ask your child: What do you think he could have done instead of throwing the rock at Abel?

11-4-18


Second Grade continues to be a busy class.  In Hebrew, we have been practicing our reading and writing and have learned a new game, Oy Va Voy.
It’s great to see how nicely all of the students work together in class.  I continue to be impressed at the student’s level of excitement about doing the homework reading.   Keep up the good work!
 
 In our Torah studies, we read “Why the Snake Crawls on Its Belly” by Eric Kimmel.   The book retells part of the Adam and Eve story and explains what the snake’s consequences were for tempting Eve.  We discussed that this story is not directly from the Torah but rather is based on a Midrash about the Torah passage. We then discussed a question I once heard Rabbi Kushner pose, “Was it good that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden?”  We delved a bit into the question to understand it as was it better for Adam and Eve to have everything provided for them or was it better to be challenged to learn to provide and create for themselves?  I wonder if you and your child would agree on an answer?


10-28-18


On Sunday we began Chapter 4 in our Hebrew text, adding the letters ה Hey and  צ Tzadi.  We also looked at the ץ final Tzadi, and discussed that this is the letter to use if there is a Tzadi at the end of word.  We learned that the Hey makes an H sound in the beginning or middle of a word and is silent when it comes at the end of a word.  The class is excited as we learn more vocabulary words.  We played two Hebrew reading games this week in class; “Buzz Off’ using Popsicle sticks and try not to get “stung” and a Candy land type game trying to get to the finish line before the other player.

In our Torah studies we went onto the story of Adam and Eve.  We discussed who the children would hold responsible for Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit.  The answers varied from just the serpent, just Eve, Eve and the serpent to both Adam and Eve.  We then had a short conversation about people making their own choices as to what they do.   Ask you children who they think is responsible. 



10-21-18


Did you know that we begin Sunday mornings with T’filah (prayer) with the Kindergarteners and First Graders?  We begin with prayers/songs thanking God for creating a new day, continue with the Sh’ma and personal thanks and a prayer for peace.  We often end with songs appropriate to the holidays or perhaps popular Israeli children’s songs.  This week the Second Graders were amazing role models for the younger children, singing beautifully, sharing what they are thankful for and answering questions about the different prayers.

In Hebrew we continued on to Chapter Three in our text, learning/reviewing the letters Alef א and Mem מ. While the final Mem מ is not introduced until later in the text we did cover it in class in order to understand that when the sound m comes at the end of a Hebrew word with no vowel we only use the final Mem מ.  We also learned a new vowel, which makes the “EE” sound.  We have two new important key words-Ima אמא and Abba אבא, ask your children if they remember what they mean.

In our Torah studies we continued discussing creation and that people are were created in God’s image.  We agreed that we don’t actually know what God looks like, though many of the students had their own ideas. The answers included God looks like a human (more often a man than a woman), an angle, different elements of nature such as the sun and the stars and God is invisible.  We discussed the need to treat each other with respect since we are all created in God’s image.  The students then created self-portraits to add to our bulletin board about creation.

10-14-18

Shalom Bet Families

We have finally had a regular week of religious school and we took advantage of every minute!

In Hebrew we began the second chapter of our text book.  We added the letters 
Gimmel ג and Dalet ד.  We have also added the new key word "dagדג to the ones from Chapter 1, "bat"  בת and Shabbatשבת .  Please ask your child if s/he remembers what they mean.  We have been practicing reading and the kids are constantly amazing me!

We began our Torah studies with "Beresheit", the beginning of the book of Genesis.  We read about what God created on each  day of creation, and began to create art work to decorate the bulletin board in our classroom.  

Homework began this past week.  I hope that you have all had the opportunity to see the homework sheet and to hear your child read.  In class we discussed that the expectation is to read 5-7 minutes for each assignment. Some children might read the entire page and that some children may not be able to do that in 5 minutes.  I stressed that accuracy is more important than speed, and that everyone reads at their own pace in every language.  It is important the reading be done out loud.  Please sign the homework sheet after your child reads, prizes will be given out after ten assignments are completed.  The work is meant to reinforce what is learned in class, not to learn new material.  If you have any questions please be in touch.

Looking forward to seeing you this coming Saturday at Synaplex, 

Margie

9-23-18

Hi Kitah Bet Families, 

We had a very busy first class today.   

We began with Tefillah (prayer) with Cantor Ken and the younger students in the sanctuary.  We talked about things we are thankful for, sang "Modeh Ani ", the Shema and Oseh Shalom.  We also saw that the Torah scrolls are still "dressed" in their special white clothes for the New Year celebrations.  

In the classroom, we played a "Getting To Know You Game", had snack,  created class rules, learned about Sukkot and had a VERY short taste of Hebrew.  Rachel's mom, Anna, came in and helped us make decorations and hang them in the Sukkah.  

The students created the list of class rules, or "will try to" as we phrased it, on their own with very little teacher input.  Please ask them if they remember any of those promises and if any of them may be challenging for them to try to do this year in class. (A little hint, we talked about expected classroom behavior and respecting each other.)

I'm looking forward to getting to know all of your children as they grow and learn in Kitah Bet this year.

Wishing all of you a Happy Sukkot, 
Margie

PK and K/Kitah Gan 2018-2019

1-13-19

Hello Gan Class Families!

Today we were able to meet with Cantor Ken with just the Gan Class students.  We started to prepare for Kabbalat Torah which is taking place on February 9th during Synaplex. He helped us to practice some songs that we will be singing that morning.  Below are the links so that you can practice at home.
Al Shelosha Devarim (Pirkei Avot, 1:2)
It is a Tree of Life (Proverbs 3:18)
We love our visits with Nitzan.  We asked her if there was football in Israel and she shared that what she calls football is really soccer for us.  She said that there are some people that play American Football but it is not as popular as it is here.  She helped us learn new words that were connected to Tu B'shevat and shared that in Israel strawberries (called toot) only grow in the winter!  We finished by playing two new games, one to help us learn about the things we do to celebrate Tu B'shevat and another to learn a game that children in Israel might plat. Our  study about Tu B'shevat helped us think about our favorite foods that come from trees and well as mitzvot we like to do.  We also got to do some planting.  Bina and Jo helped us plant some parsley which will grow just in time to use for Passover!

In our next meeting, we are very excited to be participating in a Tu B'shevat Seder which Nitzan has put together for us.  It will include some delicious fresh fruits to enjoy.  In preparation of Kabbalat Torah on February 9th we will be working on an art project that will be on display that morning.  

Cantor Ken showed us something very special that was visiting Temple Israel this weekend.  It was a Haftorah scroll.  He opened it up and let us take a peek inside.  Ask your students how the inside of a Haftorah scroll looks different than a Torah scroll.


There is no class next week. I look forward to seeing you all on January 27th!


Michelle

1-6-19


Hello Gan Class Families!

Happy New Year! I heard about all of the super exciting activities that you all had planned for vacation.  It sounded like everyone had a great time!

Today we started to learn about Tu B'Shevat which will take place in two weeks.  Cantor Ken helped us to sing some songs about trees and we were able to use hand motions which was very silly and fun.  We read a story about all of the different kinds of trees and starting to think about all of the things that trees provide for us.  There were no new letters today but we practiced identifying our letters and their sounds and we did get to practice our yoga skills by making the letter shapes with our bodies.  We are very flexible! Our new Torah story is Noah's Ark.  So many of the Gan Class students already know this story which is excellent.  Something new that we learned is that God asked Noah to bring two of every animal but seven of the Kosher animals.  We also added up all the time that Noah and his family were on the Ark and even though it only rained for 40 days and 40 nights, they were on the Ark for more than a year waiting for the water to go down. That's a long time!

Next week we will be working on a Tu B'Shevat project and other activities to celebrate the trees.  We will also get to meet with Cantor Ken to start practicing for Kabbalat Torah which will take place on February 9th.  He will be teaching us some special songs to share with everyone.

Nitzan played a giant memory game with us to help us review all of the words that she has helped us to learn so far this year.  The students were really good at the game and had remembered many of the words. Ask your students which ones they remember and how many pairs they were able to collect.

Below are some pictures from our class today.

See you next week!


Michelle

12-16-18


Hello Gan Class Families!

During Tefillah today, Cantor Ken helped us start learning the V'ahavta which we recite right after the Shema.  He said that when we sing it, we will be using special notes that are in the Torah called Trope.  It is very exciting to get to learn new prayers and this was great timing because we were hard at work today practicing the Shema and piecing together all its parts in order. We finished our study of the story of Cain and Abel.  All of the Gan Class students can share details from all three of the stories we have experienced so far and today we made our third story illustration.  It shows Cain and Abel together.  Cain is the one with the vegetables and Abel is the one with the sheep.  Sam's dad was Mystery Reader today.  He shared a silly story about Noah's Ark to get us excited for our next Torah story.

When we return in the new year we will begin our Study of Noah's Ark.  We will also spend our first two weeks in January preparing for Tu B'Shevat!

We traveled around the building as detectives today looking for Mezzuzot.  Ask your students which ones we saw, where they were and what they looked like.

Below are some pictures from our class today.

I wish you all a Happy New Year.  Enjoy a restful break and see you in 2019!



Michelle

12-9-18



Happy Hanukkah Gan Class Families!

It was so great to spend Hanukkah with all of the Gan Class students today.  We were very excited to celebrate with the whole school in the Social Hall.  The Men's Club served us some delicious latkes and we played dreidel together after we lit the candles.  Cantor Ken helped us sing all of our favorite Hanukkah songs!  At snack time Bina and Michelle made us a special treat, soufganiyout!  They were delicious and very messy.  We also got to make our very own dreidels using legos!  Together we read the story of the Macabees and how they fought against the Syrians wanted the Jewish people to worship the way that they did.  We learned that after the fighting was over and the Macabees had won, a miracle happened and the oil in the ner tamid lasted 8 days when there was only enough for one.

Next week we will be learning some new letters as well as practicing the ones we already know.  We will also finish up our study of the story of Cain and Abel so that we can start with a new story when we return in 2019!

Nitzan shared with us what it is like to observe Shabbat in Israel.  Ask your student about how Shabbat is different in Israel than it is here.  Many students were really surprised about some of the differences.

Below are some pictures from our class today.

Jo and I would like to thank you all for the very generous and thoughtful gifts.  It is truly our pleasure to spend Sunday morning with your students.

I can't wait to see you all next week for our last class of 2018.



Michelle

12-2-18



Happy Hanukkah Gan Class Families!

Today was full of Hanukkah learning!

Nitzan shared three new words with us.  Two were treats that we enjoy on Hanukkah and the third was the Hebrew word for candles.  We learned that in Israel, there is no school or work during Hanukkah and that it is a time to think about who our heroes are.  Today's mystery reader was Roy and Sophia's dad and he shared a really cool new book about Hannukah in Alaska which featured a moose.  We practiced the blessings, some of our favorite Hanukkah songs and which way to light the menorah.  Most importantly we got some good practice in playing dreidel.  Hopefully the Gan Class students are ready for a most amazing holiday!

Next week we will celebrate Hanukkah together with the whole school!  The Men's club will help us enjoy some special Hanukkah treats together.  We will also have a chance to play some Hanukkah games together in our classroom and study the story of Hanukkah.

During Tefillah, Joanne, the Aleph Class teacher, shared a super fun fact.  There is only one Jewish Holiday that takes place in two different months.  Ask you student if they remember which one it is.

Below are some pictures of our time together this morning.

I look forward to seeing everyone next week for more Hannukah celebrations!


Michelle

11-18-18



Hello Gan Class Families!

It was such a lovely morning in the Gan Class.  We were very excited to start learning about Hanukkah.  Together we explored some of the blessings we say when we light the candles each night.  Students created a guide with pictures to help us learn the blessings.  They were so excited to see that the Hannukah blessings have something in common with the Shabbat blessings we learned a few weeks ago, they all begin with the same six words!  During Morning Meeting every day, we have been practicing counting in Hebrew.  We count how many students are in the class and how many teachers are in the class and how many people we have in the room altogether.  This week we got to practice counting to 10 and we are getting really good.  In our Morning Meetings, we are also getting exposure to the Hebrew months and year. To help us learn our letters, students practiced tracing and writing them on white board marker sleeves.  Bina, Jo and I were so amazed at the concentration everyone used and how great the letters were looking.  Keep up the good work everyone!

Our next class is December 2nd and we already know that Hanukkah starts that night!  In class we will be focusing our learning on Hanukkah traditions.  We will complete our guide of Hanukkah resources, practice how to put the candles in a menorah and which way we will light them and we will make sure everyone is a dreidel spinning pro!  We will also complete our study of the story of Cain and Abel by creating an illustration of the story.

During Tefillah today, Cantor Ken helped us sing many songs for Hanukkah.  Ask you student which one was their favorite!

There is no class next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  I look forward to seeing everyone on December 2nd.

Enjoy the Thanksgiving Holiday!


Michelle

11-11-18



Hello Gan Class Families!

It was so lovely to spend Veterans Day together.  This morning, we made some cards to give to the Veteran's we met at our Veterans Day Program and practiced how to thank them for their service.  The cards were super cute!  Coby's mom was our Mystery Reader today and she brought with her our very first Hanukkah Story of the year! We were very excited to learn that Hanukkah starts in just a few weeks.  Our new Torah story is about two brothers names Cain and Abel.  Cain, a farmer gives God some vegetables as a gift.  Abel chooses to give God his very best sheep.  God likes Abel's gift better which makes Cain really mad.  They fight and Cain kills Abel.  When God asks Cain where Abel is, Cain lies and says he doesn't know.   God tells Cain that as his punishment it will be hard for him to farm and that he will have to leave his home and become a wanderer.  

Next week we will have our Aleph Bat Centers to help us practice our letters.  Also, Nitzan has some exciting places in Israel to tell us about which we got a preview of today! This video helped our students to get an overview of what the land of Israel looks like.

Instead of a traditional Tefillah experience today, students were introduced to some of the Veterans that are a part of the Temple Israel community.  They shared with us a video to help us learn about Veterans which you can view here and let us ask questions about their lives. Ask your students to share some of the things that they learned about our Veterans.

Below are some pictures of our time together this morning.

See you all next Sunday! 


Michelle

11-4-18



Hello Gan Class Families!

I hope you all enjoyed an extra hour of sleep last night and that waking up to a sunny morning was just what you needed to start an amazing day.

Today we were so excited to meet our very first Mystery Reader.  Most weeks we will have a Mystery Reader join our classroom to read us a story at the end of the day.  Our Mystery Reader today was Robin!  She shared with us a story called Chik Chak Shabbat.  When Nitzan was with us she helped us learn some hand motions that people use in Israel to say "wait" and "enough".  We practiced them by playing a game of Simon Says.  To finish our study of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, students illustrated Adam and Eve leaving the Garden of Eden after the Snake tricks them into eating from the Tree of Knowing out to Tell Good from Evil.

Next week we will read our next story which will be about Adam and Eve's two sons.  We are also looking forward to learning some new letters.  We will be learning the letters het, hay and gimel.

In the Sanctuary this morning while we were waiting for all of our friends from the Aleph and Bet classes to join us, some of the Gan Class students asked some amazing questions.  Cantor Ken helped answer them.  Something that they were curious about is who gets to sit on the chairs that are on the Bima.  Ask your students if they remember who gets to sit on the Bima and if they remember what side they sit on.

Below are some pictures of our time together this morning.

There is Religous School next Sunday.  I look forward to seeing you all then!


Michelle

10-28-18



Hello Gan Class Families!

We were so excited to have Nitzan back with us in class today. With her, she brought three new words for the week and they were words that cool kids in Israel use.  You can check them out in the pictures below. Nitzan helped us write our names in Hebrew on name tags that we can use when we have visitors to our classroom.  While some students opted to have her write their Hebrew names, others asked her to write their English names using Hebrew letters.  Something that students were surprised to learn is that Nitzan's name is the same in English and in Hebrew and it means bud, like a rosebud.  We took a special trip to visit the Chapel today.  It's a space in the building we haven't seen before.  Students called it a "mini Sanctuary" when we discovered that it had many of the same things we can see in the Sanctuary.  Rabbi Liben happened to be there and helped us to see the Torahs and shared some information about how the Chapel is used.  We thought is was CRAZY that there are more services in the Chapel each week then there are in the Sanctuary.  Back in our classroom, we started to learn about the blessings we say on Shabbat.  Students helped us remember the blessings for challah, Shabbat candles and wine.  We noticed that all of these blessings start with the same six words so they must be really important.

During our class next week, we will continue to focus on the Shabbat blessings to help us remember what we are thanking God for when we say them.  We will also illustrate the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
We were so lucky today to unexpectedly meet up with Rabbi Liben in the Chapel.  He helped us make observations about the space and just like in the ark in the Sanctuary there was a shofar inside the Chapel ark. Every student got to try to blow the shofar.  Ask them what sounds the shofar made when they tried!

Below are some pictures of time together this morning.

See you all next week!


Michelle

10-21-18



Hello Gan Class Families!



I am so glad you found us in our new learning space.  I look forward to seeing you all in the Orange Room from now on!

Today we worked together to make an illustration of the story of Creation.  Students drew God sleeping after creating everything we need in six days.  In our new Torah story we met Adam and Eve who live in the Garden of Eden.  While they are there, God provides them with everything they need and there is only one rule - don't eat from The Tree of Knowing How to Tell Good from Evil.  The snake tricks them into eating from it and as a punishment, Adam and Eve have to leave the Garden of Eden forever.  They will have to work hard for their food and will no longer live forever. Together we explored three new letters this week.  Tav makes the sounds t- and begins the word torah.  Caf makes the sounds k- and begins the words kelev(dog) and kippah.  Nun makes the sound n- and begins the words ner tamid(the light that hangs above the ark) and nerot(candles).



During our class next week, we will welcome Nitzan back from Israel. We haven't seen her since September and the Gan Class students are curious to ask her about her visit home and learn the new words she brings us each week.  We will also explore the blessings we say on Friday nights as part of our study of Shabbat.
We started to practice Aleph Bet Yoga for the letters we have already learned.  Ask your student to show you some of the poses and try to guess what letter they are!

Below are some pictures of time together this morning..

See you all next week!

Michelle

10-14-18


Hello Gan Class Families!


Today was our very first time enjoying Aleph Bet Centers.  This is always a fun way to practice our letters.  Students used cookie cutters and Play Doh to shape the letters, used dot markers to practice writing our letters, played a game of Aleph Bet Go Fish to practice naming our letters and played Aleph Bet Adventures, a Candy Land type game, to help us recognize our letters.  We are now experts at shin, tet, dalet and lamed.  In the Sanctuary, Cantor Ken showed us the Torahs again.  They looked much different from when we saw them just after Yom Kippur.  They were dressed in pretty colors instead of white.  He showed us the yad and the ner tamid which we will study later in our year.  It was a great way to practice standing when the ark is open and an amazing opportunity to ask questions about the Torahs we have at Temple Israel. Each student illustrated their own Story of Creation book.  Together we focused on learning the things that God made on each day of Creation.  As we were working, there were some excellent questions about God that were answered by other students.  I was so impressed at how thoughtful our Gan Class students are!



During our class next week, we will meet Adam and Eve who live in the Garden of Eden.  We will also learn three new letters, tav, caf and nun.
During Tefillah today, Jo taught us how to say the Shema in Sign Language!  Ask your students to show you what they learned!  It was very cool.

Below are some pictures of time together this morning..

See you all next week!

Michelle

9-30-18


Hello Gan Class Families!


Today we experienced our very first Torah story.  It is the story of Creation.  We learned that God created the world in one week.  For the first six days God was very busy making all the things we need and on the seventh day, God rested.  We call the seventh day Shabbat. Nitzan shared that she is going to teach us three Hebrew words every week.  This week she taught us three words that are about the holidays.  She taught us the words fro dance, family and cycle. The posters she has made for these words will hang in the hallways upstairs so that everyone can check them out.  Cantor Ken helped us to prepare for tomorrow night's Simchat Torah festivities.  Our class will join with the Aleph Class to lead a song during the first hakafa.  The song that we will lead is Torah Torah and we sounded GREAT as we practiced.  I just know that tomorrow night our class will be the stars of the evening.  After leading our song, we will join in and dance with the Torahs.  Cantor Ken showed us some of the ways that we could dance - it was very silly! I can't wait to see all your dance moves tomorrow.

When we meet again in two weeks, we will revisit our first Torah story and create a craft to help us remember all the things God made.  We will also have our first Aleph Bet Centers where we will get to practice the letters we learned today through games and activities.
Something new that students learned about was Hoshanah Rabah, when we ask God to provide the rain we need for our crops to grow.  We joined the rest of the school in the Sukkah to "beat the willows", a tradition where we hit the willow branch of the lulav against the ground five times.  When we do this it makes a special sound. Please ask your students what this experience was like and what sound the willows make when we hit the ground with them all together.

Below are some pictures of our adventures today.

There is no class net week due to Columbus Day weekend.  Our next class together will be on October 14th.  I hope to see many of you tomorrow evening, starting at 6:45pm for Simchat Torah.

Michelle



9-23-18

Hello Gan Class Families!


Today was such a fun and bust day.  It was so wonderful to have everyone together in the classroom for the first time and I just know that it is going to be an amazing year!

Today was about making new friends.  We met lots of new student friends as well as teacher friends in the Gan Class.  A special friend we met was Nitzan.  She lives all the way in Israel and will be with us all year to help us learn about Israeli culture, geography and more.  Today she helped us play a get to know you game where we all shared our favorite foods and animals.  Nitzan's favorite animal is a turtle and she likes pizza just like many of the Gan Class students! Together, as a class, we created a class brit, or contract, about the important ways we should treat others in our class.  Our whole Gan Class community signed their names to the bottom promising to be kind, helpful, respectful and responsible. Thank you to Charna Westervelt, and Sisterhood at Temple Israel for helping us make some creative decorations for the sukkah.  Many of you got to see our beautiful creations at the end of the day but if not, hopefully you will be able to stop by the sukkah during sukkot to see the various decorations made by our Religious School students.  

Next week we will get to hear our first Torah story.  It is the story of Creation and we will learn about all the things that God made in just one week. We are also looking forward to learning some Hebrew letters. Our first letters will be shin, tet, lamed and dalet.
During Tefillah, Cantor Ken was kind enough to let us take a peak at the Torahs.  Students got to stand with Cantor Ken on the bima as he shared some information about how they are dressed and decorated. When we see them again in a couple of week they will be dressed very differently.  We counted how many Torahs there were in the aron kodesh.  Ask your student to share with you how many there were.

Below are some pictures of our adventures today.

I look forward to seeing you all for our class next week!

Michelle